Best Recirculating Pumps for Water Heater in 2020

A few readers have asked, “Is a recirculating pump worth the money?” There are two ways to answer that question, and it is “yes” for both.

1. From a strict financial standpoint, it will take a few years in lower water bills to recoup the cost of the pump and installation. But yes, in the long run, if properly installed with a timer to eliminate unnecessary recirculating and heating of water, it is a cost-effective decision.

Instead of a timer, you can also install a On/Off switch under the sink. Turn the pump on, and within a few minutes you will have immediate hot water. That’s an oxymoron – immediate hot water in a few minutes. But once the hot water has circulated up to the faucet or showerhead, it will be immediately available to all that want to use it.

2. In terms of convenience and eliminating long waits for hot water, many homeowners consider buying a recirculating pump money well spent.

Here’s a link to our complete guide – Is a Recirculating Pump Worth the Money? It is written for tankless water heaters, but the information applies to any water heater type.

Generally speaking, the larger your home, the more it makes sense to install a recirculating pump to eliminate wasted water.

By the way, recirculating pumps are also called recirculation pumps, circulator pumps and hot water recirculators.

Recirculating Pump Cost

How much does a recirculating pump cost?

The pump and supplies cost $100 to $400+ depending on the pump you purchase and the accessories added. Two of the pumps in our list are complete kits with pump, bypass/bridge valve, water lines and more. We recommend buying a kit unless you replacing and existing pump.

Hiring a plumber to install the pump will cost another $125 to $250 based on the scope of the work.

If you add a recirculating water line, something more easily done in new construction or a total home gut and remodel, that will cost another $200 to $500 for materials and labor.

You can use a recirculating pump without adding a line when you install a thermal bypass valve like this one.

This video explains your options and the parts needed to make them work for your situation.

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Summary of Costs

Part

Cost Range

Pump Only

$60 - $300

Pump Kits

$200 - $475

Professional Installation

$125 - $250

Water Line Supplies/Labor

$200 - $500+

The Best Recirculating Pump Models

Here are quick overviews of these units if you want to make a purchase and get on with your day.

Complete recirculating pump reviews are below.

      Image                    Product

Watts Premier

  • Best Complete Kit
  • Saves up to 15K Gallons per year
  • For Standard Water Heaters
  • Includes Lines & Valve
  • 24-hour Timer

Best Complete Kit

Taco 006-B4

  • Best Pump
  • Bronze Construction
  • Up to 10 Gal./Minute
  • 3/4"
  • Replaceable Cartridge Saves $

Best Pump Only

Grundfos 59896155

  • Best Value
  • 25 Watts
  • Bronze/Stainless/Aluminum
  • EPDM O-rings
  • Cast Iron Body

Best Value

Grundfos 99452459

  • Best for Retrofit
  • Complete with Lines & Valve
  • Digital Timer
  • Battery Pack for Outages
  • Saves up to 12K GPY

No Return Line Required

Complete Recirculating Pump Reviews

Here are more details about these dynamic recirculating pumps that can reduce water use by thousands of gallons per year.

Best Complete Kit

#1 Watts Premier Instant Hot Water Recirculating Pump System with Built-In Timer

This is an ideal kit for a recirculating system in new construction or a retrofit. It doesn’t require a dedicated water line. The existing cold water line can be used to push cool water from the hot water line through the bypass valve and into the cold water line.

Watts makes high-quality, highly rated recirculating pumps and kits.

  • Specs: 1/2" connections and bypass valve. 120 volts. Cast aluminum construction. Watts states that the average water savings per year is 11,000 gallons but some save as much as 15,000 gallons of water from being wasted down the drain.
  • Features: Pump with built-in Timer. Two adapters with rubber washers. Two 12” water lines. Sensor valve with check valve. The sensor valve allows water to flow from the hot water line into the cold water line until it senses heat (hot water). It then shuts off the pump, and hot water is immediately available at the faucet or shower head.
  • Pros: A high-quality kit with everything you need for recirculating hot water without a dedicated recirculating water line. This installation is great for retrofits and saving money on materials and labor in new construction. It is DIY-friendly for a handy homeowner.
  • Cons: Won’t work with a tankless water heater. Most tankless heaters that offer recirculation require a proprietary pump made by the same manufacturer.
  • Bottom Line: If you want a complete kit for a standard water heater, consider this best-selling, highly rated model.

Best Pump Only

#2 Taco 006-B4 Bronze Circulator Pump 3/4-Inch Sweat

This is a pump only, and perhaps the best recirculating pump available. It is well-built and durable, manufactured by Taco, a brand with a track record for quality and reliability.

Its unique design allows you to replace the internal moving components quickly and easily. They are all housed in one cartridge inside the tough pump body.

  • Specs: 3/4" sweat. Handles up to 220F water. Up to 10 gallons per minute. This pump is designed for many applications including domestic hot water recirculation, hydronic systems, geothermal and solar.
  • Features: Bronze body is durable and corrosion-resistant. Direct-drive performance. Replaceable cartridge saves about half the cost of a new pump.
  • Pros: Durably built. Replaceable cartridge with all moving parts.
  • Cons: Pump only. If you use it in a retrofit, you’ll need a bypass valve and lines. There’s no timer, but one can be added to the system. If you need a complete kit, the Watts and Grundfos kits are a better option.
  • Bottom Line: This unit’s reviews are more than 90% positive from consumers on various selling sites including Amazon. If you need just a pump and want one that will last 5-10 years, consider this Taco hot water recirculating pump.

Best Value

#3 Grundfos 59896155 SuperBrute Recirculator Pump Small Red

This hardworking pump is manufactured by a company with a reputation for heavy-duty construction and superior results.

Grundfos supplies parts to many of the world’s largest HVAC and plumbing manufacturers.

  • Specs: 25 watts. 115 volts. Max 145 PSI. 1/25 HEAT PUMP. 3/4" connections.
  • Features: Cast iron pump housing. EPDM O-rings. Ceramic shaft and bearings. Carbon steel axial bearing. Stainless steel rotor can and plate. Composite impeller.
  • Pros: A good-quality pump at a very competitive cost. Ratings from users are 80% to 85% positive.
  • Cons: Just a pump. If you need a complete kit, see the next product.
  • Bottom Line: Consider this product if you want a hard-working recirculating pump at a reasonable cost.

Best – No Return Line Required

#4 Grundfos 99452459 UP15-10SU7P/LC Instant Hot Water Comfort Recirculation System

This is a premium pump kit including a new digital timer that can be programmed to turn the pump on when hot water will be in highest demand.

For example, program it to turn on shortly before your household gets up in the morning, and how water will be immediately available.  This unit is estimated to save up to 12,000 gallons of wasted water per year.

This is an ideal recirculating pump retrofit kit with all you need for installation and immediate hot water. Most users find it takes about 2 hours to install the entire kit.

  • Specs: 115-volt, 25-watt pump. Stainless steel housing. Up to 6.3 gallons per minute.
  • Features: Pump. 2 water lines. Bridge/bypass valve and digital, programable timer. The battery backup keeps your water warm if the power goes out.
  • Pros: Premium quality and durability.
  • Cons: This is a pricey unit.
  • Bottom Line: Consider this Grundfos recirculating pump and installation kit if you need the entire system for a retrofit.

Tankless Water Heaters with Recirculating Pumps

Did you know that many of the major brands make tankless water heaters with built-in recirculating pump?

Having the pump onboard reduces installation costs, obviously, and has another advantage: You know that the water heater and pump are compatible.

If you’re interested in a tankless water heater with a recirculating pump, here are top models to consider.

The first burns natural gas. The second uses propane.

Noritz NRCP982DVNG Condensing Tankless Water Heater 11.1 GPM with integral pump -Natural Gas

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This natural gas tankless heater is built with commercial-grade materials including 25% thicker piping and a commercial copper heat exchanger.

Venting is easy because it is a condensing water heater, and the exhaust is warm but not hot. It produces up to 9.8 gallons per minute (the Amazon product page says 11.1, but it is incorrect) of hot water per minute.  

Rinnai RUR98iP 9.8 Max GPM Ultra Series Condensing Indoor Propane Tankless Water Heater with Recirculation

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According to Rinnai, this innovative, time-saving and cost-reducing tankless unit features, “recirculation (with or without a dedicated recirculation line) provided by thermal bypass technology which includes an integrated pump, internal bypass line and thermal bypass valve which means less wait time for hot water.”

This is a very efficient unit and ideal for a home that uses propane.

If you’re interested in tankless whole-house water heaters, see our Tankless Water Heater Buying Guide. It has comprehensive research plus links to our Reviews of all major tankless brands - Rheem, Rinnai, Bosch, Takagi and more.

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